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Kadir Nelson’s magnificently illustrated children’s picture book, which relates Nelson Mandela’s life story, explores themes of justice, human dignity, and racism. Named Rolihlahla at birth, Mandela grew up in Qunu, one of 13 children. As his family’s smartest child, he was the only one sent to school. His teacher refused to acknowledge his Xhosa name, calling him Nelson instead.

When Mandela became a lawyer, his goal was to protect poor and vulnerable people. But South Africa’s unjust apartheid policy led to his imprisonment for 27 years. Upon his release, he urged his fellow citizens to continue to fight for justice.

Christian parents might want to discuss with their children the role of “the ancestors” in the narrative and contrast it to biblical views of life after death and God’s control of human affairs. (Katherine Tegen Books)

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